"Dumb It Down for the Average Jew"?
The Pernice Brothers w/ Tim Fite @ Southpaw 9/23/05
Ok first things first. Tim Fite sucked. I just don't get his whole indie minstrel singer with his brother playing guitar act. Can someone please explain his appeal? The most positive thing I can say about him is that I've never heard anything quite like it, but that doesn't mean that I enjoyed it.
The Pernice Brothers came on to an unfortunately half-empty but still enthusiastic Southpaw crowd. Although only guitarist Peyton Pinkerton (on the very left-hand side of the above picture) remains from the original band, they still rocked and played even better than at their excellent show last month at The North Star Bar in Philadelphia. The setlist was virtually the same, concentrating on new material from this year's excellent Discover A Lovelier You and 2003's just-as-excellent Yours, Mine and Ours along with older material from their 1st 2 records and a few songs during the encore where Joe played solo before the band came out again to do "Flaming Wreck", perhaps Joe's finest composition.
Joe and the rest of the band seemed visibly shaken (and understandably so) from the murder of their tour manager's father a few days prior to this show (they had to cancel their previous 2 dates as a result of that tragedy) and I think that intensity carried over into the performance. He also dedicated the excellent "Saddest Quo" (one of my favorite songs on the year) to Jet Blue, who showed footage (on their other planes as well as on the one that was stuck in LA before crash-landing) of the plane that flew over LA to their passengers and he said that it's symbolic of how fucked up we are and I can't help but to agree with him.
As for the title of my post, before performing the excellent "Dumb It Down", he explained that some listeners (including his wife Laura Stein, also pictured in this shot from 2001 since she was a former member of the band) thought that he was singing "dumb it down for the average Jew" instead of the correct line, which is "dumb it down for the average Joe", which makes more sense. The alternative lyrics, which Joe described as "horrible" and rightfully so (what's funny about this is that his wife is Jewish), are ones that I just don't hear anyone being able to make out, but perhaps as my friend Jack said aftewards, it's that Boston accent.
As a side note, I took my friends from The Czech Republic who were in town to see the dB's a few days beforehand and who never heard of The Pernice Brothers to see the show and both of them loved them, even commenting on how it's unbelievable that they don't have a major label deal given how accessible their music is. I couldn't agree more, but such is the music industry.
Oh and by the way, I know that September is almost over, but for a few more days, you can download the rare Sandwich ep for a $5 donation from The Pernice Brothers' Bargain Center and all the proceeds will go to hurricane relief. It's great and otherwise unavailable music for a good cause, so get to downloading!
Previously: My review of The Pernice Brothers show at The North Star Bar in Philadelphia last month